Welcome to the Schwartz Lab!
Regulation of cell behavior by adhesion to extracellular matrix (ECM) is a fundamental fact of multicellular life. Virtually every cell in vertebrates spends at least a portion of its life cycle adhered to ECM, and this interaction critically regulates cell survival, growth, gene expression and function. Integrins are the major membrane receptors that mediate adhesion of cells to ECM. In doing so, they connect the actin cytoskeleton inside the cell to the ECM to provide mechanical integrity. My lab is among those that, in the late 1980’s, showed that integrins also transduce signals. These signals are complex and varied, and appear to mediate many if not most of the regulatory effects of ECM.